Last night I returned to Madison Square Garden for the second of three consecutive Phish shows. I was not about to make the same mistake I made on Wednesday night - drinking on an empty stomach - and got a solid cheeseburger base in me before the show. I remembered a few more funny tidbits from Wednesday night too: at the bar preshow, I reached into my pocket for my cash, and a individually wrapped Lactaid pill I was carrying fell to the ground. I could sense the tension in the place, as the Phish wookies contemplated diving on my potential contraband. "Relax folks - it's just Lactaid," I laughed. It won't get you high, it will just save you from agonizing stomach pain when you eat milk products.
There was a scary moment early on in Wednesday's show, where a girl who was probably about thirty years old was nodding and swaying a little to the music at the end of my aisle, 3 people away. Suddenly, she stopped moving, stared straight ahead, teetered, and then collapsed as her friends shook her and yelled at her. Ten minutes later, she was back, fine, as her friend explained to me "she doesn't even do any drugs." Just a Kuroda-induced bona fide seizure i guess.
On Thursday, we were sitting in section 309, which was fine - it was near the stage, and offered a sweeping bowl of the mass of gyrating hippie humanity that was Madison Square Garden on that night. I said hi to Doctor Pauly before the show, and finally met the elusive Change100. I also spotted a guy in my section wearing one of Pauly and the Joker's Phish/Lost Dharma Initiative lot shirts.
I didn't think the crowd was nearly as loud as the night before. Perhaps it's because I was in a different spot - the music was bone shakingly loud the night before in section 73, and the sound was significantly more dissipated up in the 300 level, but I wouldn't think that would effect the crowd noise I was hearing.
Hans shot this pic on his Iphone, through the lazer glasses I brought, which he throroughly enjoyed wearing.
To me, the crowd didn't really get rocking until Julius closed the first set. The second set led off with another anthemic song: Down With Disease. I had a Phish Virgin with me, my friend Hans, and I urged him to try to listen for the part when Phish would come out of the jam and bring it back to the closing refrain of the song. Sadly, they didn't finish DWD, they segued into Piper instead. Piper is good too, but I love the way the band ends DWD jams, and was diappointed not to get brought back to the hook. Piper, in turn, morphed into Fluffhead, which really got the crowd fired up again.
"Fluff came to New York
Askin' me for change
His eyes were clear and pure
But his mind was so deranged"
The second set was quite solid, including Free, David Bowie, 2001 and a Character Zero encore.
A few funny moments: 1) security/ushers simple gave up trying to corral the mass of dancing wookies that flooded the aisle around the 300 level. I saw an usher with a simply exasperated look on her face - she wasn't even going to try to stop the dance fest. 2) there were two guys behind me who were probably 17. One looked to be the chaperone, guiding his buddy who was clearly stoned out of his mind. During the set break, stoner-boy was expounding "dude - we are just so inherently SMALL. Do you realize that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate?" It was like Donald Sutherland's character in Animal House. I laughed and turned around, to find the chaperone buddy looking completely embarrassed. "Enjoying the show?" he asked me, rolling his eyes at his buddy.
Tonight we return for the final show, which is likely to be a barn-burner.